Daily World News Digest, 18 December 2015

Remains of Colombia ‘’disappeared’’ returned to families

AFP reported today that the remains of 29 people who disappeared during the half-century conflict in Colombia were handed over to their families Thursday under a deal between the FARC rebels and the government. The remains included the victims of both rebel and army atrocities. They were identified by forensic scientists and exhumed from common burial plots at several cemeteries in the area. The number of missing persons in the Colombian conflict ranges from 20,000 to 100,000. The agreement on returning the remains of the missing was finalized in October in Cuba, where the government and FARC have been holding peace talks for the past three years. http://yhoo.it/1IcH7mV

Body to coordinate reconciliation in Sri Lanka

The Hindu, a daily from India, carried a story today saying that the Sri Lankan government has decided to establish a secretariat to coordinate activities of various players engaged in reconciliation. The proposed secretariat will develop a plan on institutions such as the Office on Missing Persons and the Truth, Reconciliation and Prevention of Conflicts Commission. It will follow up the progress of implementation of recommendations made by various panels, including the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights. http://bit.ly/1PalH9v

International Migrants Day: governments must address crisis

Amnesty International USA issued a statement saying that Governments must act to protect migrants fleeing through the same routes and exposed to the same abuses as refugees. Migrants in South-East Asia have been particularly vulnerable this year. In May 2015, thousands of people from Myanmar and Bangladesh were subjected to horrific abuses at the hands of boat crews in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Amnesty International is also calling on the Mexican government to protect migrants from across Central America en route to the USA – one of the most dangerous routes in the world which faces ongoing abductions, killings and disappearances. http://bit.ly/1Zfn8s5

Colombia top court exonerates colonel for disappearances in 1985 siege

The Jurist reported on 17 December that Colombia’s Supreme Court exonerated a retired army colonel on Wednesday who had been found guilty of the forced disappearances of two people he escorted away from the 1985 Palace of Justice Siege, ordering the colonel’s immediate release. Luis Alfonso Plazas Vega was detained after a prosecutor re-opened investigations into disappearances related to the siege in 2006 and has spent the last eight years in custody. Although he was originally charged with forcibly disappearing 11 people, he was convicted by Bogotá’s Superior Court for two of the alleged disappearances and sentenced to 30 years in prison. http://bit.ly/1Ocj8GT

Daesh, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Boko Haram are gaining profit from human trafficking

New Europe, a news portal, reported on 17 December that all UN Member States must do everything in their power to combat human trafficking, especially for sexual purposes, the UN Security Council said on 16 December. The 15-member body stressed that Daesh, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Boko Haram are the prime perpetrators gaining immense profits from this barbaric act. UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said “most of those trafficked are vulnerable women and children deceived or abducted into a life of suffering, exploitation, torture and servitude. ’It referred specifically to Daesh’s trafficking in Yazidis “for the purpose of sexual slavery, sexual exploitation and forced labor’’. The Council statement called on Member States to fully implement all relevant resolutions to this issue. http://bit.ly/1lVOV2A

Items in Daily World News Digest are summaries of published reports relevant to the issue of missing persons, compiled by ICMP staff.  These items do not necessarily reflect the position of ICMP.